Ranchi Court withdraws direction to distribute Quran copies for bail

The Judicial Magistrate Court, Ranchi has withdrawn the controversial direction imposed in a bail order to donate copies of Quran.

The condition was imposed by judicial magistrate Manish Singh on July 15 while allowing release on bail of 19 year old Richa Bharti, who was accused of hurting religious sentiments through a Facebook post.

Richa Bharti

Based on an application filed by Pithoria police for modification of the condition on the ground that its implementation was difficult, the Magistrate dropped the condition.

“To neutralize the situation” the Magistrate had thought it fit to direct Bharti to donate one copy of the religious text to Sadar Anjuman Islamia Committee and four copies to other libraries of various schools.

The order had led to country wide controversy. The Ranchi District Bar Association staged a protest rally and boycotted the Magistrate’s court on Wednesday. The Association said that the order could affect the psyche of the woman.

A delegation of the RDBA met the Judicial Commissioner Navneet Kumar and requested him to take a reasonable decision on the issue.

“The JC has assured that he would take a decision within two days. The RDBA would abstain from judicial activities in the JM’s court on Thursday as well. We are also demanding his transfer”, said RDBA general secretary Kundan Prakashan.

Bharti was arrested on July 12 for offences under Section 153A (promoting communal hatred) and 295A(hurting religious sentiments) of Indian Penal Code on a complaint by Sadar Anjuman Committee at Pithoriya near Ranchi over a post shared by her in Facebook regarding the lynching of Tabarez Ansari.

Allowing her release on bail after three days of custody, the Magistrate said :

“The Court cannot ignore the fact that religious harmony must be maintained in our society, one must respect sentiments of other religion as well. Considering the age of the petitioenr and the nature of offence as alleged, in order to neutralize the situation, this Court thinks it proper to impose one additional condition to donate give copies of Holy Kuran, out of which one copy may be gifted to Sadar Anjuman Committee, Pathoria and rest four copes may be donated to Government University/College/School of Ranchi by way of bona fide gesture and submit a report within 15 days”.

Bharati said that she will not comply with the condition to donate copies of the religious book. She said that although she respects the court, the verdict asking her to distribute Quran copies was an infringement of her fundamental rights.

(With inputs from Sanjay Sahay)

Source : Live Law

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